Monday, 17 December 2018

2018 Reading Challenges WrapUp

How I did in my 2018 Challenges

March: IndieAthon encouraged the reading of as many independently published books as possible during March and there was a bingo card of different categories to add to the difficulty. The challenge was hosted at Lost In A Story. You can see exactly how I did on my IndieAthon post. I didn't manage to get a bingo line, but did read the following 14 books for this challenge:

I also did the Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge in March, hosted at The Caffeinated Reviewer. This one was to read books published prior to the 1st March 2018 and with an emphasis on those that had been languishing for a while. Several of my reads counted for both March challenges and I finished with the 15 here:

Craving by Esther Gerritsen
Threadwalkers by Joanna Volavka
Far Cry From The Turquoise Room by Kate Rigby
Waking Isabella by Melissa Muldoon
The Yellow Sun by Stiofán Ó Nualláin 
The Clock Flower by Barbara Casey
Walk With Me by Debra Schoenberger
Patient Zero by Terry Tyler
Full Circle by Regina Timothy
The Prince Of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Spider And The Stone by Glen Craney
From Liberty To Magnolia by Janice S Ellis
Free Country by George Mahood

August: My own 2017-18 Decade Challenge ran from the 1st September 2017 to the 31st August 2018 and I managed to complete it just in time! The idea is to read one book from each decade from 1900 until the present day.

1903 - The Souls Of Black Folk by W E B du Bois
1910 - The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
1923 - The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
1930s - Collected Stories by Bruno Schulz
1943 - Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
1956 - The World Jones Made by Philip K Dick
1969 - Heroes And Villains by Angela Carter
1978-9 - Territory Of Light by Yuko Tsushima
1988 - A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
1998 - Havana Black by Leonardo Padura
2007 - The Running Man by Gilbert Tuhabonye
2017 - Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

I had two fun month-long reading challenges throughout August. The first was August Authorfest hosted at Chuckles Book Cave. The aim of this challenge was to read new-to-me authors and I managed 15 so I am very happy with this.

We Only Saw Happiness by Gregoire Delacourt
Resin by Ane Riel
How To Love A Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Revolutions by Mateusz Skutnik
The Danes by Clarke
The Path To Change by Pope Francis
Of Faith And Fidelity by Evan Ostryniuk
The Tale Of The Missing Man by Manzoor Ahtesham
Desirable Body by Hubert Haddad
The Gravediggers' Bread by Frederic Dard
Angelica Stone by Susi Osborne
Waiting For Monsieur Bellivier by Britta Rostlund
Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira
Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers

Also in August I joined in for the first time with Bookish Bingo which is hosted each month at Chapter Break. There are 25 Bingo squares to fill, each with its own topic to match. Books can be put into more than one square - as long as they meet the criterion of course! Click this Bookish Bingo link to see my monthly wrap-up posts. (December's will be published early in January)

State Of The ARC is hosted at Avalinah's Books and is a monthly meme focused on keeping track of ARCs. I had lost track of many of mine this time last year, but thanks to this challenge I am now completely up to date! 
I completed my State Of The ARC Bingo grid at the end of September:

ARC with your favourite colour cover
ARC of a debut book
Your oldest ARC
#ownvoices ARC
A nonfiction ARC
An overdue ARC
ARC with sensitive social issues
A fluffy and happy ARC
A new-to-me genre ARC

I set my Goodreads 2018 Challenge at 180 books this year and reached my target in mid-November. Click through this graphic to see all the books I read within the year:

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits) has completed her goal of reading 180 books in 2018!

WorldReads is an ongoing challenge for me, now in its third year I think. Each month, on the 5th, I post a list of five books I have read from a particular country, choosing a different country each month. It is getting trickier to find enough books as the list of unposted countries gets shorter, but I love searching them out! In 2018 I posted these WorldReads:

Also n an international theme, I challenged myself to read books in my second-best language, French, this year. I hoped to read 6 and actually achieved 3 Books In French with 1 DNF after 60 pages (Chicklit just isn't my thing in any language!).

La Perle by John Steinbeck
Lettre à Zohra D by Danielle Michel-Chich
Quatre Moi En Mer by Said
A la folie ... pas du tout by Valerie-Anne Baglietto (DNF)

Classics Club is another ongoing challenge. The idea is to read 50 classic novels within 5 years. The challenge ends in June 2023 and I already have 12 books read.

Finally, I'm also showing off my 2018 Alphabet Soup Challenge list. This challenge was hosted at fuonlyknew and I completed it on the 11th December.

A Dip In My Ocean by A G Stranger
Breathe Breathe by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
Dilemma by Baheya Zeitoun
Elza: The Girl by Sergio Rodrigues
Frankenstein In Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
Giant by Richard Georges
Hero by Boyd Taylor
Ibn Fadlan And The Land Of Darkness
Just Simple Little Cruelties by Osman Welela
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
Lies Of Silence by Brian Moore
My Name Is Salma by Fadia Faqir
Necessities by Boyd Taylor
On The Cold Coasts by Vilborg Davidsdottir
Pigeon Street by Mark Fieldsend
Quatre Moi En Mer by Said
Resin by Ane Riel
Stray by Bernard Farai Matambo
The Souls Of Black Folk by W E B Du Bois
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Venetia by Georgette Heyer
Whispers Of The Beloved by Rumi
Xingu by Edith Wharton
Yellow Sun by Stiofan O Nuallain
Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm

I think that's all of them!
Feeling pretty pleased with myself right now!

I'm choosing and signing up for 2019 challenges through December and plan to soon post my list of those I'll be taking part in.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

A beautiful beach at Armacao de Pera

Armacao de Pera 
I'm linking up with The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.

We've actually been camped up in two places this week: Camperstop Messines at Sao Bartolomeu de Messines and Armacao de Pera, but we're intending to return to Messines for eight nights over Christmas so I'll talk about Armacao de Pera today. It's a seaside town with a gorgeous long sandy beach and our campsite, Camping Canelas, is just a little inland. It's about a 2km walk or cycle along the Ecovia from the campsite to get to the edge of the white painted town with its smattering of cafes and restaurants. So far we've explored on foot in one direction and by bicycle in the other. Sitting with tea at a cafe while gazing out at a sea sunset is bliss!

Away from the town, there's a long wooden boardwalk above the dunes which we cycled this afternoon. It was tricky because, being a sunny Sunday, there were quite a few pedestrians and the boardwalk was only just wide enough for them and wobbly me. Sometimes I really do wish I'd learned to ride a bike as a child rather than having done so as an adult. Dave is a far more fearless cyclist than I am and I know my insistence on slowing right down for anything other than smooth tarmac road surfaces is annoying. He's very patient about it though!

In bookish news, I'm currently reading the new C H Clepitt novella, My Dream Woman. It's feisty diverse urban fantasy with fun characters that I'm enjoying spending time with. My review should appear before Christmas.

Giveaways closing soon
19th Dec: Unexpected America by Wanjiru Warama ebook
20th Dec: $50 Amazon gift card
(All current giveaways here)

On my blogs this week were:

Stephanie Jane
I complete my 2018 Alphabet Soup Challenge!
Stephanie Jane's #Giveaway #Linkup

Literary Flits
Song of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon + #Giveaway + Excerpt
Watching Aliens by Elancharan Gunasekaran review + #FreeBook
Rust Is A Form Of Fire by Joe Fiorito review
The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga review
Dickensen Academy by Christine Grabowski spotlight
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher audiobook review
Lindisfarne by Terry Tyler review

Airing Out
Campsite - Camperstop Messines - Algarve - Portugal

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Stephanie Jane's #Giveaway #Linkup

Welcome to my Giveaway Linkup. Below are all the Giveaways I am currently running or hosting, plus those that are scheduled to start soon(ish).

I've rejigged this linkup for December to do away with the Free Books links because these weren't getting many click throughs compared to the Giveaways. You can still see them by clicking This Link Here!!

To promote your own Giveaways here, just pop the link into the Comments at any time during each month and I'll add them to the list. Remember, Giveaways also get an Ending Soon reminder in my Sunday wrapup posts and are always visible on This Literary Flits Page :-)

Unexpected America by Wanjiru Warama - 1 ebook gifted via Smashwords

Open Internationally from the 5th until the 19th December 2018.
To celebrate the Song Of Sacrifice tour, win a $50 Amazon gift card

Open Internationally from the 10th until the 20th December 2018.
Literary Flits Spotlight Post. One book chosen each month for a free promo post!

Open Internationally. Next draw: 31st December 2018.
Win ebook copies of Derrick by Russell

Open internationally from the 17th Dec to the 6th Jan.
Win copies of Melding Spirits by Michael E Burge and $20 Amazon gift cards

Open to the US and Canada from the 30th Jan to the 7th Feb.

Good luck!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Sunny cycling & a vegan lunch in Vilamoura

Vegan Cataplana at Raizes 
I'm linking up with The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.

We've moved further into Portugal from Tavira (did you see my Christmas lights post?) to Vilamoura which is further along the coast. I previously knew of Vilamoura for its marina where one of Dave's old friends had often kept his boat, but we hadn't visited before. We found a little campsite - Vilamoura Rustic - within cycling distance of the seafront and had a lovely day pottering along the promenade in the sunshine. The marina itself is much like any other Mediterranean marina, but the promenade is great with plenty of space and views out to sea. We went into the ajoining town, Quarteira, where I was delighted to spot a board advertising vegan restaurant Raizes. That was lunch sorted! Dave enjoyed his black bean burger and I loved the generous portion of Cataplana stew I was served.

All isn't great though. Getting our boiler seen to cost a pretty penny though it does seem to be working more smoothly now (fingers crossed). Then we discovered that the Spanish Repsol gas bottle that we thought we would be easily able to exchange when it was empty is going to be more difficult. There are seemingly identical Repsol fuel stations in Portugal, but apparently something about the bottle itself is different and the staff turned us away. We have been told of a gas bottle refilling place in Boliqueime. They were closed on Saturday when we drove past, but hopefully will be open later this week so we can get our English Calor and Spanish Repsol bottles topped up. Fingers crossed because otherwise we'll need to be heading back to Spain sharpish and I'm starting to like the idea of Christmas in Portugal!

In bookish news, I won a book this week! Huge thanks to author Liza Perrat and blogger Jo at Jaffa Reads Too for my copy of The Swooping Magpie. I'm looking forward to reading it soon :-)

You might have spotted my review of The Diary by Vikki Patis being enthusiastically shared all over Twitter yesterday? It was my turn as @TheWriteReads blog of the day and I loved being the centre of attention!!

Giveaways closing soon
9th Dec: $25 Amazon GC or Paypal
11th Dec: The Blogger Trailmap by Chivi Frost ebook
(All current giveaways here)

On my blogs this week were:

Stephanie Jane
November Challenges Wrap-Up: Bookish Bingo and Goodreads
#WorldReads - Five Books From Switzerland
Christmas lights at Tavira
Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2019 signup

Literary Flits
The Storm by Tomas Gonzalez review
Nutcracker Sweets at Moonglow by Deborah Garner review + Giveaway
Unexpected America by Wanjiru Warama review + #Giveaway
The Darkness That Divides Us by Renate Dorrestein review
Tangled Vines by Megan Mayfair spotlight
The Light Of The Fireflies by Paul Pen review
Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm review

Airing Out
Campsite - Vilamoura Rustic - Algarve - Portugal

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2019 signup

OK, I think the Mount TBR Reading Challenge for 2019 is going to be my final signup (or I am going to be spending so much time challenging next year that I won't actually have enough left for the reading!) I first saw this challenge mentioned on Jovita's Inky Impressions blog and it is hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block.

The Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2019 and the idea is to read as many owned-but-as-yet-unread books as possible. To count for the challenge, books must be owned by me prior to January 1, 2019. A few days ago I actually typed myself out a list of (nearly) all the non-ARC books I have awaiting reading and there's rather more than I thought I had so this challenge is perfect!

Challenge Levels:
Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR piles/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

I'm going to aspire to Mt. Ararat level and here's that list I hope to seriously prune through the year:

UK2 by Terry Tyler
Storms Of Lazarus by Karen Kincy
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Escaping Psychiatry by Olga Mira Nunez
From Ritual To Romance by Jessie Weston
The History Of Mary Prince
Seeing Red by Lina Meruane
Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai
Demian by Hermann Hesse
Circe by Madeleine Miller
The Judgement Of Richard Richter by Igor Stiks
Above The Bridge by Deborah Garner
Fate by Mary Corran
Heroes Or Thieves by J J Sherwood
Skye City by R D Hale
Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
Incident At Diamond Springs by Kendall Hansen
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe
Gaston De Blondeville by Ann Radcliffe
The Castles Of Athlin And Dunbayne by Ann Radcliffe
The Italian, Or The Confessional Of The Black Penitents by Ann Radcliffe
The Mysteries Of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
The Romance Of The Forest by Ann Radcliffe
Tahrir by Vladimir Volya
Whitewalls and Straitjackets by David Owain Hughes
Agrippina by Emma Southon
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Music And Silence by Rose Tremain
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
Minaret by Leila Aboulela
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
Windward Heights by Maryse Conde
The Book Of Fathers by Miklos Vamos
Rupert Brooke poetry
Any Human Heart by William Boyd
Four Feet Under by Tamsen Courtenay
Force Of Nature by Jane Harper
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles
The Keepers Of Truth by Michael Collins
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Muse by Jessie Burton
Ice by Ulla-Lena Lundberg
The Dry by Jane Harper
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald
The Good People by Hannah Kent
The Words In My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd
Le Brave Soldat Chveik by Jaroslav Hasek
The Golden Shadow by Leon Garfield


Friday, 7 December 2018

Christmas lights at Tavira

We took an evening walk into Tavira last week. It's pretty rare for us to go out after dark, but we fancied a curry from one of the several Indian restaurants in the town and we wanted to admire Tavira's Christmas lights when they were all lit up. There's a blue and white theme which is particularly effective and I loved how the lights had been strung around the bandstand, plus the town has done a great job of decorating the old Roman bridge.

My phone hasn't really done the lights justice, but hopefully you get the idea!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

#WorldReads - Five Books From Switzerland

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post as well as finding out how to join in the challenge.

Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits book review pages. Or click the bookshop names to buy your own copy. (Bookshop links are affiliate links so I would earn a small commission from your purchase.)

This month we are going to Switzerland!

Wasp Days by Erhard von Buren

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

"Summertime. While his wife and daughters are away on holiday, the husband – a librarian by profession – back home at work in the stultifying heat of a provincial Swiss town, indulges in reminiscence. With light amusement he recalls old love affairs. Memories come back of student days in Zurich and academic research in Paris, of starting family life, of trifling matters and crucial turning-points. But again and again the narrator also returns to the present; he describes his work at the library, life in his small town, acquaintances old and new and finally, in the autumn, a journey with his wife to China.
The author's ironic but amiable look at life in all its diversity, the combination of laconic recounting and academic recollection, day-dreaming sequences and conscious remembering make for an enjoyable and intellectually stimulating read."

Sweet Days Of Discipline by Fleur Jaeggy

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Set in postwar Switzerland, Fleur Jaeggy's eerily beautiful novel begins simply and innocently enough: "At fourteen I was a boarder in a school in the Appenzell". But there is nothing truly simple or innocent here. With the off-handed knowingness of a remorseless young Eve, the narrator describes life as a captive of the school and her designs to win the affections of the seemingly perfect new girl, Frederique. As she broods over her schemes as well as on the nature of control and madness, the novel gathers a suspended, unsettling energy.

Cow by Beat Sterchi

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Cow is the story of a Spanish agricultural labourer, Ambrosio, who goes to Switzerland as a Gastarbeiter. He is bound for Innenwald, a village in the Swiss highlands, and the novel begins as he is about to spend a summer working for Farmer Knuchel. It ends in the abattoir of the neighbouring city, at the end of the seven hard years of labour that have destroyed him. There he sees Blosch, the once magnificent lead cow on Knuchel's farm, now a sad, condemned creature in the abattoir.

Cow was acclaimed as a contemporary classic on its first 1980s publication. Now more than ever it must be read as a book of archaic power about man, his work and his food and, most importantly, as a damning indictment of the relationship between man and the animal world.

The Art Of Travel by Alain De Botton

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Few activities seem to promise is as much happiness as going travelling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel to, we seldom ask why we go and how we might become more fulfilled by doing so.

With the help of a selection of writers, artists and thinkers - including Flaubert, Edward Hopper, Wordsworth and Van Gogh - Alain de Botton's bestselling The Art of Travel provides invaluable insights into everything from holiday romance to hotel minibars, airports to sightseeing.

The perfect antidote to those guides that tell us what to do when we get there, The Art of Travel tries to explain why we really went in the first place - and helpfully suggest how we might be happier on our journeys.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

A young girl's idyllic mountain life in the Swiss Alps Heidi is only five when she goes to live with her grandfather in his hut in the Swiss Alps. Up in the high pastures, she befriends the goatherd Peter and delights in the company of the gentle goats. Everyone is sad when Heidi is taken away to live with a family in Frankfurt. But Heidi's courage and good spirit charm all who meet her. Soon she is able to return to her beloved mountains, sharing her happiness, health and home with all her new-found friends. Heidi was first published in 1881. A classic tale of childhood joys and friendships, it has delighted and inspired generations of children.

That's it for December's WorldReads from Switzerland. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Swiss-authored books! If you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited' America, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

In January I will be highlighting five books by Argentine authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

November Challenges Wrap-Up: Bookish Bingo and Goodreads

This challenge wrap-up post includes my new month of Bookish Bingo which is hosted each month at Chapter Break.
I also completed my 2018 Goodreads Challenge on the 18th of this month! I set my target at 180 books which I only just managed to achieve last year. This year I might well get over 200!

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits) has completed her goal of reading 180 books in 2018!

For Bookish Bingo I'm including books I read during November, but I might not have blogged all their reviews yet so if the cover image doesn't go anywhere when you click it, that's why!

This month I've got 21 squares completed!

Audio book

Library book
Free book
Shelf love
Family gathering
Not in a series
In a series
Baking / cooking
Physical book

Set in the future
Married couple
Free Space
Brown on the cover
Sassy / sarky character

Magical abilities
Mysterious character
Travel distance / space

Made into movie / TV
New beginnings
Bad boy actually good

Graphic novel

I'm going to do December's Bookish Bingo too and here's the new grid to match up:

I'm starting to sign up for New 2019 Challenges as well.
If you're hosting any you think I'd enjoy, make sure to pop their links in the Comments please :-)

So far, I am signed up to:

2019 Review Writing Challenge at Delighted Reader.
Shari's target is 75 reviews which sounds attainable. For me, like this year, I'm going to try to review every book I read.

2019 New Release Challenge at Unconventional Bookworms.
The idea is to read as many 2019-published books as possible within the year 2019. I'm aiming for the New Release Pro level which is 31-60 books.

What 2019 challenges are you looking forward to?